Unlocking North Vancouver History

Moodyville: Legend and Legacy

Mrs. Murray Thain of Moodyville

Margaret Thain became Moodyville’s second schoolteacher in 1872. Although the town was informally known as Moody’s Mill at the time, it did not have an official name. Not wanting to live in a nameless place, she is credited with suggesting Moodyville. The name was soon officially adopted, and the mill was eventually renamed the Moodyville Sawmill Company. Thain held teaching qualifications from Britain and had been called in to improve the educational situation of the community’s children. Conditions were far from ideal. Two years later, John Jessop (1829-1901), British Columbia’s first superintendent of schools, reported:

“In addition to want of room, the continual smoke from burning of sawmill refuse just under the door and windows of the school room has necessitated dismissal at noon almost every day for several weeks. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, the school has made progress, and is well and efficiently conducted by Mrs. M. Thain.”

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WHAT
Margaret Thain, Moodyville’s second schoolteacher, was married to Burrard Inlet’s first harbour master, Murray Thain.

WHERE
Margaret Thain and her husband migrated to the West Coast from the province of New Brunswick.

WHEN
Margaret Thain and her husband came to British Columbia in 1859 and to Burrard Inlet in 1865. Murray Thain was appointed harbour master in 1886.

WHO
Margaret Ann Thain, née Harbell, was a community-minded person who played a prominent role in Moodyville’s social life.

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